Editorial: Hospital should turn over records

A situation in New Hampshire has pitted hospitals’ obligations to protect patient privacy against the state’s legitimate interest in investigating a serious public health and criminal issue.  SeacoastOnline has an editorial on the case:

The state Department of Public Health has done a great deal to help Exeter Hospital, its patients and the community at large get control of the tragic hepatitis C outbreak allegedly caused by a temporary medical technician working in the hospital’s cardiac catheterization lab.

Preventing the state from gaining access to medical records it deems critical to its investigations makes no sense from a public health standpoint and is terrible public relations.

Exeter Hospital is denying the state attorney general’s office access to medical records and several supporting documents needed in the state’s ongoing investigation into the hepatitis C outbreak. The attorney general’s office filed a motion Tuesday at Merrimack Superior Court objecting to the hospital’s attempt to block the state’s access to those records.

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